Monday, February 6 2023

Phillies blow 7-run lead under the weight of 8 walks and a bad error originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

PHOENIX — This was a tale of two games, the one in which the Phillies jumped out to a big lead and should have cruised to a win, and the one where they blew said big lead and endured one of their ugliest and most discouraging losses of the season.

Really, this was ugly.

So ugly, you should consider yourself lucky if you fell asleep on the couch back home in the middle innings.

The Phils scored seven early runs then suffered a complete meltdown in the middle innings Monday night and opened a six-game trip out West with a 13-7 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Frustrating,” was the first word out of manager Rob Thomson’s mouth when he met with reporters after the game. “Frustrating for everybody.

“You just have to flush it and forget about it. It happens every once in a while. You just have to turn the page and move on.”

On the scale of bad losses, this was right up there with that May 5 loss to the Mets, the one where the Phillies were up by six runs in the ninth and gave up seven to lose, 8-7.

It was right up there with the May 24 loss at Atlanta when Bryce Harper clubbed a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Phils the lead and Joe Girardi asked Nick Nelson instead of Corey Knebel to close it out. Knebel wanted the ball but was denied it because he had pitched the previous two days. Nelson gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. That miserable loss helped pave the way for Girardi’s dismissal, which was probably solidified five days later when the Phils took a lead on a late, three-run homer by Nick Castellanos only to be walked off by the Mets.

Thomson took over for Girardi on June 3 and it’s been mostly good times with him at the helm. The Phils entered Monday night’s game with a 50-27 record under Thomson. That .649 winning percentage carried the Phillies into playoff contention, and they entered Monday night holding the fifth seed in the National League playoff party.

For a few innings Monday night, the Phils looked like a playoff-worthy team. They rocked Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner for 11 hits — eight of them came off the bat at more than 100 mph — and seven runs in the first four innings. Bryce Harper had two rocket doubles and Kyle Schwarber drove in four runs with a base hit and his league-leading 36th homer.

Leading 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Phils completely fell apart.

They gave up six runs in that inning and six more in the bottom of the fifth. The Diamondbacks sent 22 men to the plate in those two innings and Phillies pitchers threw an ungodly 91 pitches.

It was the first time in franchise history that the Diamondbacks scored six runs in back-to-back innings.

Starter Ranger Suarez, who had cruised through the first three innings, labored and threw 36 pitches in the fourth. The Diamondbacks scored six times to make it a one-run game. Four of the runs were unearned after a killer error by second baseman Jean Segura. Had Segura made the play on Corbin Carroll’s ground ball, the Phils would have been out of the inning with a 7-2 lead and the whole night might have been different.

“I didn’t do my job today,” Segura said. “It’s just part of the game. Basically, I don’t want to make that error in that situation, especially when we’ve got that type of lead early in the game. I was trying to catch it, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. So, I didn’t do my job today.”

In the fifth inning, Phillies relievers Cristopher Sanchez and Andrew Bellatti combined to walk five batters. Sanchez also hit a batter with the bases loaded to bring home the tying run. Bellatti walked two with the bases loaded.

For the game, Phillies pitchers walked eight and hit a batter.

“We really swung the bats well,” Thomson said. “We were playing good defense early. Sometimes, when guys don’t throw strikes, you get on your heels and it looks ugly.”

In addition to falling apart on the mound and on defense in the middle innings, the Phillies did nothing offensively after chasing Bumgarner from the game with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. They did not get a hit after Bumgarner left the game.

Maybe this was just one bad game for the Phillies. Maybe they will bounce back with Aaron Nola on the mound Tuesday night. The offense will have a tougher assignment than Bumgarner posed as scheduled Arizona starter Zac Gallen hasn’t given up a run in 27 1/3 innings over his last four starts.

Bad losses like Monday night’s are sometimes easy to get over, especially when a team has played as well as the Phillies have lately.

“This team has been playing such great baseball the last three months,” Segura said. “This one, you have to take it and throw it away and come back and continue to play the game we’ve been playing the last three months. I think the guys have been doing a really good job as a team. Move forward.”

If there was one lingering concern, it might be Suarez. Two starts in a row now, he’s lost command of the strike zone in the middle innings. After this one, he insisted he was healthy and would find an answer. He is scheduled to get the ball again Sunday when the Phils close out the trip in San Francisco.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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